The Glass Marionette

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen the hashtag #theglassmarionette pop up now and again over the past few months. Quite possibly to accompany some pretty weird-arse hand-drawn diagrams or screen shots.

Today the mystery of #theglassmarionette is unveiled.

The Glass Marionette is my latest online collaborative writing project, partnering this  time ’round with my old friend and writing compatriot, Rus Vanwestervelt. We worked together on the Write Anything website back in the day, and Rus has written for Literary Mix Tapes. We’ve also been working with Adam on another collaborative venture, but The Glass Marionette is our literary baby.

When strangers, Will and Wainwright, meet face-to-face in a gas station at dawn, they realise their shared nightmare is something more insidious than a bad trip. Wainwright is trying to find his missing friend. Will is in hiding from his dead girlfriend and their angry lover. Meeting in reality might be their first step at making peace with the past. Or their last.

~ The Glass Marionette, blurb

We have been brainstorming, writing and project hashing since mid-June and this week we share a two part Q&A session, as a prelude to releasing the first weekly installment next week. The first part of the Q&A goes live today with the second part live on Friday.

The weekly installments will be approximately 1500 words, very raw and mostly uncut. It is unlike anything I’ve written. It puts the capital W in weird. It also knocks out the ballpark any of the big concept ideas I’ve experimented with in the past. A big shout out and thank you to Dave Versace who rose to the challenge of being our puppetmaster and master prompt creator.

The Glass Marionette is a metaphysical, time travel serial that pushes the boundaries of collaborative writing and the expectations of narrative and structure. It is the literary equivalent of a trust fall.

Based on the premise of ‘the unreliable narrative’ and built on ten randomly deployed writing prompts that effectively disable the authors’ abilities to direct the narrative, the serial is an experiment in writing blind and on the edge, and how to do both when fundamental control is handed over to a third party beyond the writing partnership.

The journey of Will and Wainwright seeks to answer the question: with every means at your disposal, is it possible to fix the past and dissolve one’s regrets?

~ The Glass Marionette, project description

I’ve always found my resurrection in writing through collaboration and this time is no different. While I don’t want to make a habit of getting up at 2am to write because the story is so far  under skin  I can’t sleep, it feels good to be writing again. It’s actually a relief to find I am still capable of writing after so much time away from the page, between  physical and mental health issues, family and personal upheavals over the past few years. I’m excited to be able to publicly share my fiction again.

Rus is absolutely writing at the top of his game at the moment. It was always going to be a joy to collaborate with him, but he’s pushed me to excel and to embrace writing dangerously again.

I hope you’ll join us, as we share with you the most unconventional of web serials over the next few months.

 

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“24” – The Complete Story List

in collaboration with Claire Jansen

5313696612_f064cd9bec_oThree days before Christmas Amber lands in Australia to celebrate the festive season with Ben. But he’s not expecting her or the news she brings. Her presence sends radial fractures into Ben’s life and those close to him, from his sister to his lover and beyond.

Told across a single day, through the eyes of five characters, ’24’, delves into the complexities of the relationships closest to our hearts.

“24” – 06:00

“24” – 08:00

“24” – 10:00

“24” – 12:00

“24” – 14:00

“24” – 16:00

“24” – 18:00

“24” – 20:00

“24” – 22:00

“24” – 00:00

“24” – 02:00

“24” – 04:00

Image: Walt Stoneburner Time – 12:35 via Flickr

Digital Collaboration Unveiled

clockeyeEarly in August I spoke briefly about the digital collaboration I had begun with Tasmanian writer, poet and musician Claire Jansen as part of Ben Walter’s digital residency. Since then Claire and I have been busy throwing around ideas, writing, editing and rewriting to bring together the narrative threads of five characters across a 24-hour period.

The original concept came from the attached photo that randomly appeared in my Facebook feed from Existing Actualities.

With the framework of capturing a story in two-hour blocks of a single day, we built the story with no collaboration or brainstorming during the initial drafting. Much mad writing passed between Claire and I in the first week. Several characters emerged in our respective pieces and across the next two week we followed them as their lives unraveled. Two more weeks were spent refining the characters and their shared storylines.

The collaboration is simply titled “24”.

Three days before Christmas Amber lands in Australia to celebrate the festive season with Ben. But he’s not expecting her or the news she brings. Her presence sends radial fractures into Ben’s life and those close to him, from his sister to his lover and beyond.

Told across a single day, through the eyes of five characters, ’24’, delves into the complexities of the relationships closest to our hearts.

“24” launches tomorrow (Friday, 5th September).

A new story will go live every two hours and crisscross between this blog and Claire’s Tumblr. The first part will be available here at 6am (AEST); the next at Claire’s at 8am, so on and so forth through to Saturday at 4am. Each story is approximately 500 words.

We look forward to sharing “24” with you and hope you are able to share it with friends and family, far and wide.

Of New Endings and New Beginnings

August is set to be a massive month if my to do list is anything to go by.

August_mismatch_socks

Oddly matched

Submit Submit Submit!

I managed to make my target of six stories for the #6in6 challenge (literally by the skin of my teeth about 9 hours after the Australian deadline – hooray for international time zones!). From that massive outpouring of words (I wrote over 24,000 new words!) I have five stories still to be submitted. They are all beta read and awaiting rewrites. This is where the new endings bit of the title comes from.

Several of the stories need (or needed new endings). My science fiction story ‘The Leaves No Longer Fall’ requires a massive rewrite of the final third and it’s taken time to get all the pieces to fit together in new way. ‘At Arm’s Length’ needed a new ending (because I believed the characters deserved a happy ending rather than the bleak one it originally had). At this point in time, the response has been positive for the new ending of ‘Arm’s’.

The plan is to work on one story a week leading off with ‘Leaves’ (it is the most time sensitive – wish it wasn’t the one requiring all the work though). Two of the stories should be easy rewrites and coexist nicely in a single week. The plan is to have them all submitted by the end of the month.

New Collaboration

On the beginnings front, I am working with Tasmanian writer, poet and musician Claire Jansen on a short story collaboration as part of Ben Walter’s digital residency. Ben’s using his residency to pair Tassie writers with those on the mainland (or further afield). Claire and I met randomly in one of the comment streams on the Facebook group set up by Ben and and we have been throwing ideas around via email for the last week. This morning I wrote the first installment of what will be a look at various lives as they crisscross in a 24-hour period. We’re aiming to each write six short pieces each.

Here’s a small taster of the rough and ready words that poured out this morning:

From where he lay, the crack between the curtains glowed with the golden fissure of dawn and he imagined the light stealing in. Seeking him out. Exposing him for what he was.

And he deserved it.

He’d told Helena, just one night to get it sorted out with Amber and ensure she had somewhere else to go. Now, oh Christ.

Amber slept curled in a ball, her head on his shoulder, sour breath grazing his neck. He extracted his numb arm, climbed out of the tangle of sheets and stood naked at the window watching the dawn creep across the city. The clouds curled and whisped, lit by the rising sun, in such a way that it looked as though fire rolled across the bay. A pending immolation of the guilty, he thought and pulled the curtains closed, plunging the room back into darkness.

New Look eMergent Publishing

After dragging myself through the wilderness of distance education and home school, things are finally starting to settle down and after all the beta reading I did for the #6in6 I am hankering to get my editing and publishing hat on again.

First up is a revamp of eMergent as a business entity including a new website (oh, how there will be cries of joy and probably a few tears when that old, grey, miserable site is gone!). The new site will be breezy and colourful but maintain the minimalistic feel of the original. We are working toward all that happening for a 25th August relaunch.

And I’m plotting to possibly get a new project up off the ground. Several pieces have to fall in place for this to happen so watch this space.

 

What does August have in store for you?

A Year With Ella-Louise

…or how I found my way back to the light

When Ella-Louise slipped into the car on January 5th, I had no idea the wonderful creative adventures and opportunities writing her letters would birth, or the richness and depth she’d bring to my life. Much less the structure she and Jude would build, to enable Adam and I to work together across an entire year.

The momentum born of writing letters again, the enthusiasm to explore the world through Ella-Louise’s eyes and my interest in her backstory, spawned What I Left to Forget, the first short story I’d written in a long time. And like the proverbial rolling stone, I kept on rolling. I’ve been prolific: written poetry, a novella, short stories, vignettes, short film scripts and a box full of letters from Ella-Louise. I’ve taken risks and experimented and in doing so, seen more of my work enter the public realm.

You can read the whole guest post, talking about collaborative writing, depression, creative redemption and my relationship with Ella-Louise at Jessica Bell’s The Alliterative Allomorph.